Note on definitions related to ecosystem conditions and their services based on different glossaries - ETC/BD Technical paper N°4/2017

01 Jul 2017


Assessments of ecosystems and their services (ES) are a relatively new and intensively expanding field connecting policy and science. There are several glossaries of definitions for ES related terms out in the literature, which mostly consist of compilations of the relevant definitions from various scientific disciplines. However, ES studies are currently moving from a science-dominated exploratory phase into a more policy-oriented and practical operationalization phase. This change is initiated and governed by the integration of ES assessments into major international policy targets, including the EU Biodiversity (Strategy Target 2, Action 5). This change of the context, however, also entails expectations that glossaries should be continuously harmonized. In this technical report three major ES glossaries (those of the MAES reports, SEEA-EEA, and OpenNESS) are reviewed and discussed in detail, with a particular focus on definitions related to the concept of ecosystem condition. The report concludes by a proposal for a consistent set of working definitions for the EU MAES assessment process. This set of definitions can also be relevant for many operative assessment and accounting applications, including national MAES processes and KIP-INCA.

Prepared by: Bálint Czúcz and Sophie Condé (from ETC/BD-MNHN, FR)